Activists deliver petition with 200,000 signatures calling for climate debate to DNC

Activists deliver petition with 200,000 signatures calling for climate debate to DNC
© Camille Fine

A collection of activist groups delivered a petition with more than 200,000 signatures to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters Wednesday calling for a presidential debate focused on climate change.

Signatures were collected for the petition by an array of progressive groups, including Greenpeace, Sunrise Movement, Women's March National and CREDO Action. 

Last week, the DNC informed Washington Gov. Jay InsleeJay Robert InsleeOvernight Energy: Trump EPA finalizes rule to kill Obama climate plan | Trump officials delayed releasing docs on Yellowstone superintendent's firing | Democrats probe oil companies' role in fuel rule rollback Overnight Energy: Trump EPA finalizes rule to kill Obama climate plan | Trump officials delayed releasing docs on Yellowstone superintendent's firing | Democrats probe oil companies' role in fuel rule rollback Inslee knocks carbon move: Trump's 'undying loyalty to coal CEOs is literally killing Americans' MORE (D), who has built his 2020 campaign around environmental issues, that it would not hold a debate focused on climate.

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That decision was met with significant backlash, including from 16 of the 24 contenders for the Democratic nomination who have endorsed a climate debate.

“We don't have time for this. We can't wait another four years for the Democratic Party to start taking the climate crisis seriously. Without a substantive debate to help voters evaluate candidates' proposed solutions, we can't ensure that Democrats will nominate someone who is truly ready and able to lead," said Brandy Doyle, Campaign Manager for CREDO Action. "Tom PerezThomas Edward PerezClinton’s top five vice presidential picks Government social programs: Triumph of hope over evidence Labor’s 'wasteful spending and mismanagement” at Workers’ Comp MORE and the rest of the DNC would be wise to act with the urgency this crisis demands and allow candidates an opportunity to share and debate their climate plans in a meaningful way. Until they do, the grassroots pressure will only increase.”

DNC chairman Tom Perez responded to the backlash on Saturday, calling a climate change debate "not practical" after a group of activists confronted him about the issue.

“It’s just not practical,” Perez told the activists after delivering remarks at the Florida Democratic Party’s Leadership Blue gala. “And as someone who worked for Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaOvernight Energy: Trump EPA finalizes rule to kill Obama climate plan | Trump officials delayed releasing docs on Yellowstone superintendent's firing | Democrats probe oil companies' role in fuel rule rollback Overnight Energy: Trump EPA finalizes rule to kill Obama climate plan | Trump officials delayed releasing docs on Yellowstone superintendent's firing | Democrats probe oil companies' role in fuel rule rollback House Democrats investigate oil companies' involvement in fuel standards rollback MORE, the most remarkable thing about him was his tenacity to multitask, and a president must be able to multitask.”